Lakers legends Robert Horry, James Worthy, and Kurt Rambis prove Lakers are the biggest brand in sports
With 16 championship banners hanging in the rafters at the Staples Center and some of the greatest players in NBA history coming through the organization during the team’s illustrious history, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most popular and well-known sports franchise in the world.
During an event to announce the partnership between Anthony Davis, First Entertainment Credit Union, and the Lakers, the team’s newest superstar talked about what it’s like to wear the purple and gold and play for such a prestigious franchise. Davis emphasized the importance of the Laker brand and how it is a global brand, unlike any other.
After the announcement, which took place in downtown Los Angeles at the Ace Theatre and Hotel, Tomer Azarly and I spoke with three legends that had great success during their playing days with the Lakers. Kurt Rambis, James Worthy, and Robert Horry spent some time with us and shared what the Lakers brand means to them.
“Well, one of the things that AD [Anthony Davis] said out there was that the Lakers are a global brand,” Rambis said. “They are recognized around the world. Because of the past success that the Lakers have had, they have garnered fans all over the world. There are very passionate fans with the Lakers.
“Obviously, a lot of companies would want to be associated with winning and the Laker brand. It’s good for the players to, you know, parlay their own individual brand that tags along with it. It helps all of the Lakers. It helps the Lakers brand when we have good representation from past players that go out and do a great job in the community and build up that relationship with the fans and sponsors and create this overall global aspect that everything is great and fantastic with the Lakers because then everybody else wants to be associated with it and a part of it.”
Worthy, who currently works as an analyst on Spectrum SportsNet, also chimed in on what the Lakers brand means and how the franchise gets involved in the community while also bringing over employees from The Forum to the Staples Center.
“You know, in conjunction with the Laker brand that Dr. [Jerry] Buss built over time, they’ve also been very conscious of the community, other communities that support the Lakers throughout Southern California whether it’s Habitat for Humanity, or whether it’s going to a local school and providing needs that weren’t there, computers or whatnot,” Worthy said. “They’ve always attached themselves with the community and allow the community to become a part of their brand. They employ a lot of people that used to work at The Forum, and now it’s Staples Center, whether it’s in the parking lot or whatever.
“All of that, we try to support what they’re doing. Whether it’s housing, whether it’s financial enhancement, the Lakers always had their antennas attached to those entities as well.”
Unlike Worthy, who played his entire career with the Lakers winning all three of his titles in Los Angeles, Horry already had experience with another franchise. He won two titles with the Houston Rockets playing alongside Hakeem Olajuwon and had a short stint with the Phoenix Suns before being traded to Los Angeles.
The seven-time NBA champion has an interesting perspective when it comes to the Lakers brand. He admits that even though he won more titles (4) playing for other teams, the Los Angeles franchise is like no other, and a lot of people forget he played for three different teams, including Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs.
“Speaking of a guy who’s been on multiple teams and traveling the world, the Laker brand is one of the biggest brands in sports,” Horry said. “People don’t even remember me playing for other teams. It wasn’t like I was on losing teams. They only remember the Laker brand because once the Lakers come on TV, it’s like everything stops. Even when the Lakers are on their highs or lows, people want to stop because that Laker name and image is so great and so grand and shining so bright more than any other team that people are gonna stop and stare.
“It’s just so weird for me, in the travels, it’s like, you can be in China or wherever it may be, someone has a Laker jersey on. It might not be someone’s name, it just says Lakers, but you know what that symbol means. It’s just fantastic how bright the Laker logo shines.”
With Davis joining LeBron James in Los Angeles, the Lakers brand remains as strong as ever. The team is a legitimate title contender once again and may able to hold that distinction for years to come with Davis expected to be a part of the franchise for the long term.
One thing is for certain, even with the franchise coming off a six-year playoff drought, which is the longest in the team’s history, the Lakers brand was able to endure and show its true power while providing hope for a promising future with two superstars leading the way.